Trump Avoids Media Trap While Zapping Intel Community [OPINION]
For more than two years, President Trump has expressed a distrust of various intelligence officials. I think his point was finally driven home during the joint news conference with Vladimir Putin, in which he failed to rush to the defense of the intelligence community. And who can blame him?
Even before being elected, Trump was the victim of a smear campaign involving the Democratic party, the so-called mainstream media and yes, the intelligence community. When he defied all odds and won the election, the smear campaign turned into an all-out effort to subvert the will of the people by driving Trump from office. "We'll stop him," promised FBI investigator Peter Strzok.
Trump proved during the post-summit press conference that he is still smarter than the average bear. When asked by a crafty wire service reporter to pronounce for the world to hear once and for all whether he trusted the U.S. intelligence or Vladimir Putin on the question of alleged Russian hacking prior to the 2016 election, Trump chose neither.
Trump immediately detected the trap and waltzed his way through the prickly minefield with great agility. The media was waiting for Trump to say that, of course, he trusted U.S. intelligence more than Putin, but that would have snared him. That would have been an admission in the eyes of his enemies that the Russians had, in fact, influenced the outcome of the election in his favor, thus throwing into question the legitimacy of his own presidency.
The question provided Trump with an opportunity to remind his supporters and detractors alike that the intelligence folks fumbled and bumbled their way through what appears to be considerable wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton, the Obama Administration, and the Justice Department prior and during to the 2016 election. Besides, Trump doesn't trust the intelligence community, and to say so would have been a lie that would have rankled his base.
Trump never said that he trusted Putin on the matter--only that the Russian president had denied any involvement in the hacking of Clinton and DNC computers. In any event, he and Putin made it clear that they are not willing to accept all of this without evidence, something that has been severely lacking.
Trump was going to be criticized by his political opponents on both sides of the aisle regardless of what he said or did in Helsinki. At least he got to exact a little justice of his own in the process while shining a light once again on the corruption that has allowed some to escape justice while others are unfairly persecuted.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.